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COVID-19 GN Update - March 23, 2020

23 March 2020

Premier’s update:

As of today, there are no known confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the territory.

The public health communicable disease team is following approximately 111 persons under investigation. So far, 43 people who were under investigation have been cleared and no longer need isolation.

Starting at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 strict travel restrictions to Nunavut will be in place. Only residents and critical workers can travel into the territory. Everyone, except critical workers with written permission from the Chief Public Health Officer, must be in a mandatory 14-day isolation period in the south before they can board a plane to come to Nunavut. This includes residents and students.

All public gatherings are now banned, and all playgrounds and municipal parks are now closed.

I want to remind everyone and make it very clear that it is also necessary that anyone who arrived into the territory on or since March 15 needs to self-isolate.

Please know that we are taking this very, very seriously.

I previously announced that Government of Nunavut is providing funds to licensed child care facilities to cover parental fees from March 17 to April 7, 2020. Those funds will be processed and sent to licensed child care facilities by Friday, March 27, 2020.

The by-election for Baker Lake has been postponed until the summer, as requested by the municipality.

GN office buildings are now closed to the public. If you have an appointment scheduled, please call ahead to ensure what plans are in place.

Nunavummiut, please remember that that there is no shortage of supplies or food in Nunavut. They are coming in regularly. #COVID-19 won’t cause shortages in our stores and communities but stocking up and hoarding will. Please don’t do it. Get what you need and leave enough for everyone else. We’re all in this together.

I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the tireless work happening in our communities. I am inspired by the strength and resilience on display across our territory.

In hospitals and clinics, our health care professionals are on the front lines, not only dealing with the new reality of COVID-19 but continuing to provide excellent health care to Nunavummiut.

In our corrections facilities, corrections officers and administrative staff continue to provide professional services to ensure these facilities remain safe and Nunavut’s incarcerated individuals are safe and cared for. Correctional officers provide an important service and we recognize their efforts during this uncertain time.

Our Family Services staff continue to provide needed support and services to children, individuals and families. Now, more than ever, it’s important that we support all Nunavummiut in need.

I would also like to acknowledge both the Nunavut Employee Union and Nunavut Teachers’ Association for their partnership as we continue to provide service to the territory and anticipate their continued support as we move forward.

Government of Nunavut staff are still doing everything they can to provide vital programs and services. Whether they’re working from home, still in an office, or on the frontlines, together they are protecting our friends and loved ones, and our most vulnerable.

So, thank you to everyone providing our essential services all across government operations. We appreciate you coming to work to support our communities more than you know. Together, we will be able to meet the challenge of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

I will keep saying this everyday - social distancing and staying home as much as possible is not a recommendation. It is necessary to keep Nunavut healthy. Do it for you. Do it for our Elders and children. Do it for all of us. We all need to do our part. Keep your distance. Stay home as much as you can. This is too important to ignore.

Nunavummiut – Be kind. Be compassionate. Be careful and please use common sense.

 

Deputy Minister of Family Services update regarding student travel back to Nunavut:

Family Services, Health, Education, and Community & Government Services have been working together to ensure the safe return of students from southern-based educational institutions to their home communities across Nunavut.

Those students who wish to return home now, will require immediate isolation in central points for a 14-day period prior to an arranged charter plane to return to Nunavut. The two host facilities for students will be located in Ottawa and Winnipeg. Kivalliq and Kitikmeot Region students will muster in Winnipeg to commence a 14-day period once the last student arrives in to the facility. Baffin/Qikiqtani Region students will muster in an Ottawa facility, and likewise – once the last student arrives into the facility a 14-day period will commence. A charter from each of those cities will then return the students to Nunavut.

During the period of quarantine in Ottawa and Winnipeg, the students will have access to tools to complete their studies, will have access to health professionals who will check in to ensure their health needs are met. (There will also be an oversight group tasked with monitoring and addressing issues coming out of this operation)

Message to Students: If you wish to get home as soon as possible, please be packed and ready to get to one of the two mustering points. There will be maximum baggage amounts for both the commercial airlines and for the final chartered flight.

For those with special needs or requirements, they should be identified with the travel team member that contacts you.

And for those that are remaining to complete their terms in place, but wish to return home afterward, FANS will cover until the first available arrangements can be made home.

It is my understanding that for the other populations returning to Nunavut, there are avenues to take. For the travel coverage, usual FANS process would continue.

Emails will be sent out to students today asking them to provide FANS the necessary level of details and giving them the information, they need.

 

As part of the Government of Nunavut’s (GN) effort to protect Nunavummiut against the risk of COVID-19, GN Departments are implementing the following:

Effective March 24, 2020 all GN office buildings will be closed to the public. Any members of the public who require to meet in person with any GN essential services staff who are present in a GN office building, will need to contact that individual directly and make suitable arrangements.

 

Department of Health Services

Ongoing services:

  • Access to health care services will remain available in all communities seven days a week. All non-urgent requests will be triaged daily. Immediate access to urgent and emergent health care services are and will continue to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All clients are asked to call before presenting at a health facility.
  • In Iqaluit, public health, the emergency room and inpatient unit will remain open.
  • Well baby clinics, prenatal visits and immunizations are continuing across Nunavut.
  • Physicians will continue community visits. If this is not possible, the visits will be conducted by telehealth or by phone.

Adjusted services:

  • Medical travel services have been reduced to urgent medical travel only. Clients will be advised of these changes and involved in discussions.
  • In Iqaluit, outpatient clinics and rehab are triaging all appointments and conducting appointments. Lab and Diagnostic Imaging services at QGH are on reduced services. All upcoming appointments are being triaged.
  • MHA has moved to telephone check-in and support for some clients. Scheduled appointments for medication pick-up and administration remain the same. If you are in crisis, present to the health centre.
  • Home visits to administer medications will be treated on a case-by-case basis.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • Speciality clinics have been cancelled. Work is underway to determine which clients can be seen by phone/virtual care.
  • All non-essential travel for mental health clients and families are cancelled. All non-essential travel for families visiting clients in care is cancelled

 

Department of Finance Services

Adjusted services:

  • Nunavummiut and Nunavut business owners are encouraged to pay their taxes via phone by calling the toll-free number 1-800-316-3324 or on-line through arrangements with their financial institutions.
  • They can also send a cheque by snail mail. For inquiries regarding property tax, please email propertytax@gov.nu.ca.
  • For inquiries regarding employer payroll tax, please email payrolltax@gov.nu.ca.
  • Nunavummiut and Nunavut business owners are encouraged to pay their GN invoices by calling the following phone numbers and providing their credit card numbers.
    • Iqaluit: 867-975-5808
    • Rankin Inlet: 867-645-8517
    • Cambridge Bay: 867-983-4043
    • GN vendors are encouraged to submit invoices electronically by sending them to accountspayable@gov.nu.ca.
  • Eligible GN employees should sign up for an account on Self-Service and opt to receive payroll documents electronically. To sign up, please email self-service@gov.nu.ca.

 

Government of Nunavut Payroll

April 3, 2020

  • All GN employees will continue to be paid as scheduled. There will be delays in processing non-standard pay such as overtime and acting pay. Indeterminate employees will receive regular salary, while casual and relief employees will be paid in accordance with submitted timesheets.
  • Employees who receive cheques will continue to receive them as usual. For those who receive direct deposit, paystubs will be issued at a later date.
  • For more information, please contact Tracey Moyles, Director of Compensation and Benefits at tmoyles@gov.nu.ca.

April 17, 2020

  • All GN employees will continue to be paid as scheduled. Non-standard pay such as overtime and acting pay and any recoveries (including AWOL and LWOP) will be processed at a later date.
  • Indeterminate employees will receive regular salary.
  • All casual employees have been extended to May 15 and do not need to submit timesheets.
  • Relief employees who have worked from March 21 to April 3 need to submit timesheets to iqaluitpayoffice@gov.nu.ca by 5 p.m. on April 3.
  • At this time, only the employee and supervisor are required to sign the timesheet. Late submissions will not be processed.
  • Employees who receive cheques will continue to receive them as usual. For those who receive direct deposit, paystubs will be issued at a later date.
  • For more information, please contact Tracey Moyles, Director of Compensation and Benefits at tmoyles@gov.nu.ca.

 

Department of Education Services

  • The Department of Education is providing funds to licensed child care facilities to cover parental fees from March 17-April 7, 2020.
  • All licensed child care facilities in Nunavut that charge parental fees will qualify for the grant.
  • Funding will be processed and sent to licensed child care facilities by Friday, March 27, 2020.
  • During this time, parents will not be required to pay parental fees.
  • If closures continue after April 7, the department will re-evaluate and assist licensed child care facilities with making decisions on how to move forward.

 

Department of Environment Services

  • The department has finalized the Contribution Agreements for the one-time $25,000 per Community Harvester support program. These will be sent out today.

 

Department of Community and Government services

Effective March 24, 2020 all GN office buildings will be closed to the public. Any members of the public who require to meet in person with any GN essential services staff who are present in a GN office building, will need to contact that individual directly and make suitable arrangements.

Adjusted services:

  • IM\IT will continue to provide support to all client departments, so that all services to Nunavummiut are ready and available.
  • IM\IT is dedicated to making sure that all GN services dependant on IM\IT is up and running as to minimize impact to Nunavummiut.
  • Nunavummiut could experience some delays in service.
  • Planning for all current projects will continue as per usual. No new project requests will be taken at this time, and anything new will be on hold.

 

Nunavummiut’s health is our shared responsibility! Remember: wash your hands and surfaces, practise social distancing, listen to the advice of health officials, and stay home if you’re sick.